New duty of care legal guidance has been published for Canadian employers with employees who travel and work abroad.

The key recommendation is that Canadian employers apply all local site occupational health and safety rules and regulations for employees abroad, in addition to adhering to Canadian duty of care standards.

The guidance was published by the International SOS Foundation, in partnership with law firm Sherrard Kuzz and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Read: Benefits considerations for your international workers

“Whether an employee is on a temporary or longer-term assignment, it is the prudent, economically and arguably ethical approach for Canadian employers to adhere to these measures,” said Mike Sherrard, co-founder of Sherrard Kuzz. “Following this, protocol will not only help employers keep their workers safe, but also mitigate potential risks and liability issues for the company.”

In addition to established occupational health and safety principles, Canadian employers should undertake careful and detailed planning of possible workplace hazards, according to the guidance. This planning includes: engaging subject matter experts to conduct proactive risk assessments; establishing necessary policies, procedures and training in light of the risks identified; and engaging critical response assets to keep employees safe.

Read: How to set expats up for success

“In accordance with their duty of care, Canadian employers need to take a proactive stance to protect their employees everywhere,” said Dr. Robert Quigley, ‎senior vice president and regional medical director at Internationals SOS.

“To the extent possible, it is in employers’ best interest to apply their same established principles to work locations outside of Canada.”

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